The Importance of Pre-Screening Egg Donors
Egg donors generously help couples who can’t otherwise have children on their own create families. Not only is the egg donor donating an egg, but half of the resulting baby’s genetic and medical history is donated as well. As a result, it is very important that intended parents and agencies carefully pre-screen egg donors for both medical and psychological history, as well as lifestyle.
Growing Generations, for example, starts the screening process by having the potential egg donor fill out an online survey. In addition to basic information like age, height and weight, it will ask if the donor smokes, if she has a complete family medical history, and if she is taking any medications for depression, along several other medical questions.
Other things asked about include the applicant’s hobbies, education, interests, and athletic or artistic abilities. Photographs are usually submitted from when the donor was an infant up to the present. Some egg donors find the application process more tedious than the actual medical process.
In addition, part of the screening process is evaluating the egg donor’s psychological makeup and to clarify their legal status.
A reputable agency will have contracts and other paperwork that will need to be filled out that clarifies everyone’s legal rights during the process, as well as the terms of the compensation. Above all, it will spell out who the parents of the child will be and that the egg donor relinquishes all rights to the baby. This can be a tricky as there are a number of contradictory court rulings in various states across the United States concerning the legal rights of egg donors. Having qualified, experienced legal counsel, is a must.
Going into egg donation with a clear understanding of your rights, your own motivations, your contract and having it reviewed by a lawyer experienced in assisted reproductive technology can save a lot of headaches in the future. Egg donors should understand what they’re getting into and why.
Fertility clinics and surrogacy agencies follow specific guidelines and standards in order to ensure good quality eggs. Reputable agencies have very strict guidelines for egg donors that include:
- Must be 21-30 years old (may vary by agency)
- BMI lower than 26
- No history of inherited cancers in the family
- No serious heart disease or heart attacks under the age of 55
- No history of Sexually Transmitted Disease
- No history of illegal drug use
- No psychiatric hospitalizations
- U.S. citizen
- High school diploma (college degree preferred)